Skanska USA Building Inc. hosted a Diversity Outreach Summit today at Philadelphia University. Ed Szwarc, General Manager of Skanska USA Building’s Philadelphia region along with State Representatives Jake Wheatley and Tony Payton, Jr., Kevin Dow, Chief Operating Officer at the Philadelphia Commerce Department (representing the city of Philadelphia), Carl Singley, chairman of the “Mayor’s Commission on Construction Industry Diversity,” and Dr. Stephen Spinelli, President of Philadelphia University, all spoke at the event.
“The purpose of this summit is for us to engage local minority-owned subcontractors in the Delaware Valley and show them how they can successfully bid their services on Skanska’s regional projects,” said Ed Szwarc of Skanska. “Skanska is committed to diversity, and we want to help minority, women, and veteran-owned (MWBE) subcontractors get the most opportunities possible.”
The overall need for diversity is a key focus not only of Skanska USA Building but also of the state of Pennsylvania as well as in Mayor Nutter’s administration which has led to the creation of both the House of Representatives Select Committee on Minority, Women, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Inclusion and the Mayor’s Commission on Construction Industry Diversity.
“Today’s Diversity Outreach Summit is a step in the right direction for the city of Philadelphia,” said Mayor Nutter. “We are all aware that this recession has hurt the construction industry with MWBE subcontractors facing the most difficult challenges.
From an economic perspective, allowing smaller minority-owned subcontractors compete for contracts with Skanska helps to make them more self sustainable and more equipped to ride out the current economy.”
Skanska USA Building is committed to maximizing participation in the small, disadvantaged, MWBE business community. The purpose of the summit was to proactively build long-term relationships with Delaware Valley subcontractors to build their opportunity base in a difficult economy.
“I appreciate the proactive outreach that Skanska is doing to connect with MWBE businesses in Pennsylvania. These types of efforts complement what we are working to do in state government,” said state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Pittsburgh, chairman of the state House Select Committee on Minority, Women, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Inclusion.
Skanska has a successful track record involving MWBE subcontractors on its projects in the region and nationwide and far exceeds minority benchmarks that are required in Pa. In fact, Skanska’s Rockville, Md. office recently received a Commitment to Diversity Award from the Washington, D.C. chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC).
“It is refreshing to see a company so committed to diversity,” added State Representative Tony Payton, Jr., who offered the closing remarks at the summit. “It is great to have Skanska as a model for engaging the minority business community.”
“We’re pleased to welcome Skanska to Philadelphia University, where we offer innovative new graduate programs in Sustainable Design and Construction Management,” said Philadelphia University President Stephen Spinelli, Jr. “Helping to achieve diversity across all fields is an important goal at Philadelphia University, and we support Skanska’s outreach efforts to minority, women and veteran business owners.”